7 September Poetry Releases to Add to Your TBR List

A new month means making room on your shelf for great new reads. September promises plenty of intriguing titles, from a beloved celebrity’s poetry debut to much-anticipated collections from two former U.S. Poet Laureates. With subject matter spanning romance, race, immigration, and the small delights of everyday life, this month’s poetry balances heavy and light. Find something that speaks to you.


1. Black Book of Poems Part II by Vincent Hunanyan

Publish date: Sept. 1

This new release from Andrews McMeel shows Hunanyan building on his first collection, Black Book of Poems, with deeper self-awareness and reflection. Hunanyan uses the orderly regulations of rhyme and meter to delve into topics much more disordered—– including heartbreak, loss, and addiction. In this relatable attempt to put the pieces together, readers may recognize their own journeys and discover a newfound hope.

To read more about what Hunanyan has to say about the collection, check out his recent Read Poetry interview. Order Black Book of Poems Part II here.


2. Just Us: An American Conversation by Claudia Rankine

Publish date: Sept. 8

Rankine stands out as a leading, much-needed voice on America’s current racial climate. Rankine’s 2014 release, Citizen, topped both poetry and nonfiction bestseller lists for months, urging readers to contend with police brutality, racially coded language, Black female anger, and more. Now, Just Us: An American Conversation again showcases Rankine working with multimodal elements and defying genre. The collection of essays, poems, and visual art examines the intersection of society’s public and private spaces with Rankine’s characteristic, intimate honesty. 

Order Just Us: An American Conversation here.


3. The Best American Poetry 2020, edited by Paisley Rekdal and David Lehman

Publish date: Sept. 8

The Best American Poetry series has made itself known since 1988, cataloging the best poetry each year from many different publications. Recently, the series took steps to become more timelyeditors select not only from established journals, but also emerging online publications. Turning the collection’s pages, readers can expect some of the genre’s most prolific and dynamic voices to weigh in on today’s most pressing issues with introspection and bold voice. In the 2020 edition, specifically, RekdalUtah’s Poet Laureatehas amassed poems that focus on modern-day contradictions.

Order The Best American Poetry 2020 here.


4. The Selected Works of Audre Lorde, edited by Roxane Gay

Publish date: Sept. 8

Lorde’s writing is a favorite of intersectional feminists and revolutionists, with its unabashed centering of Black queer identity. With a new introduction and special selections by the iconic feminist writer Gay, this collection proves that Lorde’s work continues to be just as relevant, necessary, and courageous as ever. Along with 12 of Lorde’s best essays, the collection includes more than 60 award-winning poems from The Black Unicorn and From a Land Where Other People Live.

Order The Selected Works of Audre Lorde here.


5. Every Day We Get More Illegal by Juan Felipe Herrera

Publish date: Sept. 22

Named one of Publishers Weekly’s Top 10 Poetry Books of 2020 and garnering praise from Ilya Kaminsky, Jericho Brown, and Kaveh Akbar, this collection from former U.S. Poet Laureate Herrera is a must-read. “We brought in a new time / This is the new time,” Herrera writes in the collection. Herrera’s words reckon with and guide readers through this “new time”: one of political polarization, anti-immigration sentiment, gun violence, and Border Wall debate. The book takes its inspiration from Herrera’s two years on the road as Poet Laureate, juxtaposing the violence and tenderness he saw across America.

Order Every Day We Get More Illegal here.


6. Swimming Lessons by Lili Reinhart

Publish date: Sept. 29

Riverdale star Lili Lili Reinhart embarks on new territory in this personal and evocative collection. In a collection predicted to fascinate her fans and inspire new ones, Reinhart pushes past her tabloid image and begins a remarkably honest conversation about relationships, fame, and womanhood. Readers will feel like they’re reading a diary, one accompanied by eye-catching illustrations.

Order Swimming Lessons here.


7. Whale Day by Billy Collins

Publish date: Sept. 29

Poetry enthusiasts know Collins as a writer who makes poetry approachable, bringing new readers to the genre. In Whale Day, his 13th collection, Collins entertains with his beloved sense of playfulness, yet also leans into the sensitive. Through small, everyday moments—like eating a banana and walking a dog—Collins somehow explores big themes, inviting readers to reflect on gratitude and mortality.

Order Whale Day here.


Wanting to add more to your reading list? Our August recommendations pack even more poetry.